Obama’s strategy of gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan will prove a major fiasco. A similar strategy worked in Iraq for specific reasons:
- local tribes were bribed into fighting Islamist militias
- Iraq’s powerful neighbor Iran desisted from providing major support to the insurgents in order to allow the Americans to withdraw
- terrorist groups abstained from escalation due to the lack of external support and the scarcity of their own resources
- Iraq quickly reestablished a strong security apparatus
- the US left about a third of its war-time personnel in Iraq in non-combat capacities
And everyone understands that the lull in terrorism is temporary, and that the frequency of attacks belies the notion that stable government is possible.
In Afghanistan, the opposite is true. NATO enjoys very little support among the tribal federations, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are providing resources to the Taliban, and terrorist attacks are growing in frequency and sophistication. The Taliban has excellent bases in Pakistan and sufficient funding from drug production. Karzai’s security forces are weak, and the US will not need to maintain large air bases after withdrawal.
After US forces go home, larger chunks of Afghanistan will fall to the Taliban and warlords, and more attacks will take place in Kabul.